Huge Art Installation Dedicated to Olive Ridley Turtles Attracts Thousands of Tourists

Creator of Odisha Tableau at Republic Day Parade in New Delhi and art visualizer

Puri: A unique art installation of an Olive Ridley Turtle at Puri Beach in Odisha is attracting thousands of visitors during the world-famous Ratha Yatra. Created by artist and creative visualizer Kirti Maharana, the 30 feet long, 12 feet high, and 20 feet wide installation made of fiberglass on the pristine beach of this pilgrim city shines a spotlight on the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, which face significant extinction threats due to limited nesting sites globally.

This installation aims to raise awareness about the critical conservation efforts needed to protect these vulnerable creatures.

Maharana, the founder of the Bhubaneswar-based creative agency Imagery and the visionary artist behind the installation, says, “Through art, we can evoke emotions and inspire change. This installation is our heartfelt effort to draw attention to the endangered Olive Ridley turtles and the need to protect their nesting grounds, one of the rarest natural wonders of the world. It’s a call for everyone to take responsibility for our environment.”

It took 13 artists and sculptors 7 days to make this 17-ton installation made of fiberglass that will withstand the salty wind of the beach.

“While walking along the beach a few months back during a holiday, I came across the carcass of an Olive Ridley turtle being eaten by stray dogs. That moved me to think about what I can do to create awareness for their conservation. What better time to start the initiative than during the world-famous Ratha Yatra when lakhs of devotees from across the country congregate here? I hope the word will spread through my artwork so that I can contribute my bit to the conservation of this beautiful animal of mother nature,” added Maharana, who had developed the Odisha tableau that was awarded the best one during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2024.

Noted conservationist and former Chief Conservator of Forests, Odisha, Dr. Arun Kumar Mishra, who inaugurated the art installation, said, “This art installation is a powerful testament to the urgency of conserving our natural heritage. The Olive Ridley turtles are a symbol of resilience, and through this creative expression, we hope to inspire collective action to protect them.”

In 2002, the Government of Odisha implemented stringent laws to prohibit trawling and the trade of turtles, preserving the state’s natural heritage. Despite being protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, these turtles face grave threats, with high mortality rates due to fishery-related activities.
Kirtinath Tripathy, DGM Marketing (Head, Brand and Communication) from Airtel Odisha, Biswaranjan Baral from ZEE Sarthak, business consultant Debasis Patnaik, and Ashok Rout were present at the inauguration.

Maharana, through his organization Imagery, is renowned for his vibrant contributions to art, culture, and heritage across India. His impactful social campaigns and distinctive initiatives have earned recognition from prestigious national bodies and government entities. The Odisha pavilion conceptualized by Maharana at the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi 2023 was awarded the best Pavilion by the Government of India.